The Sardinian Anglo Arab (SAA) is a famous horse breed in Italy, with a significant historical background in the island of Sardinia. The aim of the study is to perform an evaluation of genetic variability in SAA using pedigree and mitochondrial data. In the current population, pedigree completeness was observed to be close to 100%, while the inbreeding coefficient and the average relatedness were lower than 3%. The ratio of effective founders/numbers of ancestors was 3.68 for the whole pedigree. The effective population size (Ne) computed by an individual increase in inbreeding (Ne_1) was 456.86, the Ne on equivalent generations (Ne_2) was 184.75, and this value slightly increased to 209.31 when computed by log-regression on equivalent generations (Ne_3). These results suggest the presence of crossbreeding and bottleneck phenomena, and they were compared with other Italian horses (reported in bibliography) to present the SAA among the Italian horse breeds scenario. Furthermore, the noteworthy mitochondrial variability reflects the use of a considerable number of founder mares; the contribution of L lineage was very important, probably because of the re-colonization from the Iberian Peninsula after the Last Glacial Maximum.
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